Local Army vet, family receives new home on national TV

A local Army veteran and his family will soon be moving into a new home after they were awarded one on national television.

In a moment filmed by the TODAY Show, Cody Blevins, along with his wife Jessica Blevins and three children Haiden, 13, Kaleb, 11 and Raelynn, 10, were surprised to be given a paid-off house in Dayton by the Military Warriors Support Foundation and Wells Fargo bank.

“We were told that we were going to be meeting with four other Purple Heart families that applied for the home,” Cody Blevins said.

The couple said that they were completely surprised by the reveal, with even retired Gen. Leroy Sisco, who made the announcement, keeping up the illusion until the last moment.

When asked how they liked the new house, they called it “a positive change for everybody,” saying that even the kids were excited to start at a new school in the Mad River School District.

Currently, the family lives in a small, 900-square-foot rental property in Huber Heights that with five people and two dogs felt like being “packed in like sardines,” they said.

“It’s nothing short of amazing to know that we are all going to get to stretch our legs,” Jessica Blevins said. The only problem, Cody added, was that he had to mow two yards for the next month.

The new home came as part of a giveaway operated by the Military Warriors Support Foundation. The couple had run across the foundation online and applied for one of the homes five years ago but didn’t get it. However, four and a half months ago they were invited by the foundation to apply for the Dayton home, finally leading up to being filmed for the TODAY Show.

It came at an especially good time, as the couple said they were set on moving this year, joking that Cody had nearly convinced the children they were going to live in the woods.

Cody Blevins is a former Army specialist with Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. He grew up and attended school in Miamisburg before joining the military in 2009 and deploying to Afghanistan.

He was injured the next year when an IED hit the vehicle he was in, injuring another person and killing a third, Sgt. 1st Class Carlos Santos-Silva. The explosion broke both Blevins’ ankles, eventually leading to a medical discharge despite his attempts to return to active duty.

“I didn’t think an ankle injury would be that bad,” he said, adding that he thought he would be back in no time.

He said that he felt terrible being in the states recovering while his fellow soldiers were still in danger in Afghanistan. The IED that injured him began the fighting season, he said, and afterward they were hit repeatedly.

The injury continues to trouble him. He said that his left ankle, which was more badly injured, was hurt again while he was working as a delivery man, leading to an extended period without work while he recovers from a surgery, with more possible on the horizon.

He said that he has struggled greatly since leaving the military, but after 13 years was able to open up about his experience, saying, “If I can impact someone else positively, let’s do it.”

When asked if there was anything else they would like to say, Jessica Blevins said, “If there are other veterans that are struggling in some way, to reach out to someone they know, do a Google search, find something that feels right to dial a number and do it, because then they will get somewhere, even if they are starting at the bottom.”

She added that it might take a little legwork, but said, “There is hope and people who want to be a part and do everything they can for you.”

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